A good turn in Fargate pays off

Gabrielle Latham LEFT, and Joanne Hall,spending 48 hours in the Wheel of Sheffield for Amy's Retreat

Gabrielle Latham LEFT, and Joanne Hall,spending 48 hours in the Wheel of Sheffield for Amy's Retreat

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WHEN two friends who both lost daughters to cancer wanted to raise money for a charity close to their hearts, they turned to the Big Wheel in Sheffield city centre.

Gabrielle Latham and Joanne Hall spent 48 hours going round in a small glass pod in aid of Amy’s Retreat, which Joanne founded with husband Stephen in memory of their five-year-old daughter.

Now, after generating widespread attention and almost £5,000 for the charity, the mothers are in the running for a national fundraising prize.

They are on the shortlist of the 2011 awards of JustGiving, the UK’s online fundraising platform, in the category for the most creative efforts.

Gabrielle and Joanne met at Sheffield Children’s Hospital after their daughters were diagnosed with cancer within weeks of each other. Gabrielle’s daughter Alex died in 1997, just seven months after she was diagnosed.

Both women, who each now have three children, are heavily involved with Amy’s Retreat, which provides holidays for children with cancer and their families.

They ate and slept on the Wheel in Fargate, only leaving for designated toilet breaks. The marathon stint exceeded its fundraising target and drew extensive media attention.

Gabrielle, of Beauchief, and Joanne, of Shiregreen, said: “The event was extremely rewarding and we were thrilled with the support from the general public and the awareness that we raised for Amy’s Retreat.

“As a small, local charity it is crucial for us to find effective and innovative ways for people to give.

“Without JustGiving, our event would not have been nearly as successful. Not only did it make it easy for people to donate, it also provided a platform for us to tell the wider world what we were doing and why.”

The JustGiving awards celebrate outstanding individuals and organisations who have given their time, effort and money to charity through its website over the year. The ceremony will be at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in London on February 10.

The Wheel has since been moved from Sheffield to Hyde Park in London.